Did Somebody Say 'Murder?'

Columnist Gab Bonesso goes head-to-head with a murder of crows.

Anyone who has lived in a tight-knit, suburban community for as long as I have probably have seen some crazy arguments take place among their neighbors.

I once observed as a neighbor sued another neighbor because his tree’s leaves were falling into his yard. One neighbor angrily accused another neighbor of shooting his dog. I’ve seen a lot out here in Robinson Township, PA.

The current neighborhood battle that I am personally experiencing, however, is the strangest yet.

I am having trespassing issues with a murder of crows.

Yes, “murder,” as in group, of crows. I researched it on PBS. How could I ever win a battle against a murder of anything? I’m doomed…

Here’s the story without getting too personal about my personal life.

I live alone with my mother who is about to have hip surgery. This means that most of the manual labor that needs to be done around our house is done by me. Specifically I’m referring to garbage duty.

I have a bad back, and it’s difficult for me to carry the heavy garbage bags down a flight of stairs to store in our garage. So I came up with this clever idea to store a garbage can on the side of our house, and each time a garbage bag is filled I deposit it into said garbage can. It doesn’t involve me walking down a flight of stairs carrying an awkward bag. It just involves me stepping out of my front door and dropping the bag into the can. 

This should be a simple experience, but no. No, it’s not. 

For some bizarre reason this bunch of crows think that I’m putting this garbage can outside for them as some type of scavenger bird-feeder. They’re just helping themselves to the contents of the can. Heck, when the can gets empty they start gnawing on the can itself! It’s gross. They are acting like vultures.

In my defense, I have tried to do battle nicely. At first I only clapped and yelled at them. Next I moved onto chasing them while carrying a very, large stick. I even tried rationalizing with them. 

According to PBS.org and its documentary "A Murder of Crows," “crows are actually very social and caring creatures, and also among the smartest animals on the planet."

Really, PBS? Because when I approached them carrying my copy of Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret they just cawed at me and continued to eat the road kill they were enjoying.

Whatever. It all came head to head on garbage day. After weeks of trying to play nice, I was forced to go evil. 

I had lugged the heavy garbage can to the edge of my property. I made sure the lid was on tight. I yelled out to the crows to leave my garbage alone. I wasn’t playing around. I had a quick errand to run so I couldn’t monitor the situation.

As I was returning from my errand, I saw the crows spread all over my yard, picking through my garbage as if they were at a garage sale. One of the crows actually had my garbage can lid in his mouth and was flying away.

I had no choice. I had run out of options. I aimed the car for the crows, I revved the engine, I slammed an entire pack of orange TicTacs into my mouth, I turned up the volume on the Rolling Stones' “Sympathy for the Devil,” and so help me God. I drove directly at the crows while blowing on the horn and laugh-screaming.

Upon writing this down for the world to read, I now realize that my actions might have been a little extreme.

Regardless, I haven’t seen that murder of crows around all week. 

I guess I out-creeped the crows. Cool. 


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